Analog polysynthesizers naturally lend themselves towards the alien because they strive and fail at mimetic representation. Possibly in an attempt to thwart this awesome failure, synthesizer music claimed representational spaces after the fact; that of the ~imagined~ (literally visualized) allegorical landscape constituting far out alien territories and psychedelic vistas. The potential of the synthesizer is not limitless; in fact at times the ubiquitous qualities of the instrument’s grain becomes an unmistakable closed-circuit universe in and of itself, comprised of various psycho-geographical states of consciousness and being; take for example the alleyway nightmare vibe, or the cosmic utopic assent vibe. Those of us by now well-acquainted with the feeling of being sucked up into a chain signal vortex might think its time to end the whole project of the APS, but for many others like myself there is an liminality in synth music that will never die — the mystical threshold between noise and music. Institutions that once cherished the synthesizer as a ~progressive device~ now prefer it buried under retro sands, perhaps ashamed of the way it slithered in to the collective consciousness and unloaded itself on us so completely.Those who chose to evaluate its various aesthetic use-values within a high brow/low brow dichotomy are bound to miss out on the ritualized ecstasy of the holy grower, equal parts Frankie Knuckles, Eliane Radigue and Johan Sebastian Bach. It all has happened before, will happen again, and is happening now, at once.
Originality is ancillary to experience. The physical process of making music and interacting with various musical systems is what interests me. Making an ~original~ work is hardly a goal at all, although it is pleasing that all projects eventually end up in a primordia of origin; it is simply the biocultural tendency that humans have towards generating their own personal systems of variety and meaning. Originality often permits neomodernist totem cries for help — as if the only type of worthwhile experience is the glory of a fresh kill. That sort of viewpoint inhabits the institutional rhetoric of modern music, stabilizing and directing the creation of cannons and genres, and works towards the interests of a very particular class of connoisseurs. Meanwhile the organic/mimetic interests of sound-generators from every corner of the world continue to search for Atlantis. Origins form so that mimes can live out their program freely. If our generation can be defined artistically in a single way it is that of the collector-archivist. We are naturally disposed towards nostalgia, and deep freeze cultural informatics is our greatest cybernetic feat. To understand the euphoria and confusion of my generation is to loop the part of Bill & Ted’s in which Beethoven rips a decisively Steve Vaiesque guitar solo on a synthesizer, and thus we intrinsically understand the nature of the eternal rip.
It a joy to acquiesce to machinery and get totally ~into~ in the limitations and scope of gear (as opposed to “defeating it”). It’s a joy to time travel, reliving zones of electronic music’s past by reverse-engineering the WGBH station identification vibe. Or try composing paeans to soft porn in slow motion, you will be easily seduced and entranced by the seaboard sound of your background mind. The more you enjoy process, limitation and defeat, the more potential there is for chance and adventure. It is no longer a matter of the synthesizer’s personality vs. the composer’s — the intrinsic music of their shared need to simply ~exist~ will generate variety. This is the promise of sentiment and nostalgia in the field of modern electronic music. If e-music’s history has been written as one unyielding progressive laser shot towards an impossible future, then we should also define spaces for ecstatic regression. The lessons of the past are moments in time that are eternally engaged, and the ability to transmit and interact with ~previous systems~ is evidence of the deep melancholy which arises from our inability to stop time just long enough to experience it. To deprive oneself of ecstatic regression is to didactically march into the future like an automaton. Disabling the past doesn’t make striving for the future any easier. Signature styles emerge from mimesis and vice versa — it is the universe’s disposition towards generating variety that drives everything.
So we homage the past to mourn, to celebrate, and to time travel. The machines of the past contain prenatal patterns and unborn mythologies that eagerly await for their next chance. And when they storm back from the abyss of history, they are never the same. Action/adventure jams come back as devotional dirges. Mantras re-animated as new ageinal horizons. The drone and the loop are functionally melancholic if you so chose, or they can bring you to the all-time highest peaks. Everything is allowed, nothing is permitted. Through ordinary investigations into letting-go and working from the gut, I have reveled in the fascination and mystery of the APS as my greatest and only mecha-ex-eternum.